Keith Mason delivered a parting shot after inflicting a £400,000 blow to Huddersfield Giants.

Mason, 31, won £146,000 in damages after being sacked by the Giants over a lewd picture posted on his Twitter account.

But Mason’s payout is dwarfed by legal costs in the case.

Mason’s legal fees alone are estimated at £200,000, which includes a ‘win bonus’ of between £75,000 and £100,000 for his lawyers.

The Giants will have to pay most of Mason’s legal costs and their own, estimated at least £50,000.

And, in a twist, it was revealed that just days before the case went to court last month Mason offered to settle for £100,000.

The Giants responded by offering just £5,000.

Prop Mason, a Giants’ player for seven years, was sacked last October after a picture of a man’s naked bottom appeared on his Twitter feed.

Mason failed in an appeal and successfully sued the club for wrongful dismissal.

After a costs hearing at Leeds High Court yesterday, Mason said: “It’s been a stressful time and I’m glad it’s over.

“Justice has been served. You just don’t do that to people.

“They (the Giants) could have done the right thing but they did the wrong thing and have been found out.”

During a three-day hearing in July His Honour Judge Andrew Saffman heard claims that the Giants were about to sign two new prop forwards in Craig Kopczak and Stuart Fielden and needed to off-load Mason.

Mason’s £95,000-a-year salary – part of a four-year contract – pushed the club close to its £1.65m salary cap.

The hearing also revealed that the Giants had been investigated by the RFL over the signing of Kopczak.

There had been a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ in Super League not to poach players from troubled Bradford Bulls.

Kopczak quit the Bulls in September last year and signed in October – but told the hearing he had agreed to join the Giants in August.

The Giants paid £20,000 in compensation to the Bulls at the suggestion of the RFL.

Yesterday’s hearing to determine costs was told how the Giants only disclosed vital documents by court order days before the case began.

These were related to who had made complaints about the Twitter picture and about details of the signings of Kopczak and Fielden.

Mason’s counsel Martin Budworth said his client was entitled to “indemnity costs” – a settlement in his favour if the two sides could not agree individual costs – because of the club’s “dismissive attitude” to the whole case.

Judge Saffman said the documents the Giants were forced to disclose were “clearly embarrassing” and should have been handed over at the outset.

He said indemnity costs were only ordered in exceptional circumstances when there were concerns about the conduct of a case.

The judge said it was “blindingly obvious” the Giants should have revealed the documents at the start.

He added: “On balance I am entitled to assume that these documents were deliberately not disclosed and, if that’s not the case, then significant efforts were not made (to find them) until the last minute.”

Mason was axed after complaints were made to the Giants over the picture on Twitter.

The hearing was told the image wasn’t of Mason but fellow Giants player Scott Moore, taken on Mason’s iPhone during a three-day end-of-season drinking binge known as Mad Monday.

Keith Mason
Keith Mason
 

It had been posted by Mason’s then girlfriend Lauren Harwood without his knowledge.

Mason deleted it two days later.

The Giants said they acted to protect the club’s “family values”.

Yesterday’s hearing was told that before the Giants’ last-minute disclosure of documents, Mason had offered to drop the case for £100,000.

The Giants offered just £5,000.

Yesterday the judge ordered the Giants to pay Mason’s £146,510 damages within seven days.

The club had previously been told to make a down-payment of £35,000 towards the legal fees but this was paid several days late. The judge ordered a further £5,000 be paid.

The exact costs have yet to be agreed by the two sides.

After the hearing Mason’s solicitor Richard Cramer confirmed his client had been on a ‘no-win, no-fee’ arrangement which meant a win bonus of between £75,000 and £100,000 was payable on top of the £98,000 legal fees.

Mr Cramer said: “It was a resounding win and Keith has been vindicated in taking the action he did.

“Keith has only done what he is entitled to do and I hope Huddersfield Giants comply with the court order.

“The indemnity order sent a clear message that the judge was dissatisfied with the way Huddersfield conducted the case by trying to conceal significant documents.”

Mason, who is coming to the end of a 12-month deal at Castleford Tigers, said he wanted to remain a Super League player.

He is going to Los Angeles with boxer pal Joe Calzaghe shortly.

“I will go away, enjoy myself, relax and re-charge my batteries,” said Mason.

“I am still in great shape and training every day and I want to move on in my career.

“But first I’m off to celebrate!”

Giants’ managing director Richard Thewlis declined to comment.